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K   O  D  A  I  K  H  A   N   A   L  

ABOUT KODAIKHANAL

Kodaikanal located amidst the folds of the verdant Pali hills is one of the most popular serene hill stations in India, which mesmerises any visitor. With her wooded slopes, mighty rocks, enhancing waterfalls and a beautiful lake, Kodaikanal is a charming hill station. Kodai is situated at an altitude of about 2,133-m high and covers an area of 21.45-sq-km. The hill town is renowned for its educational institutions of international repute. The pride of Kodaikanal is the 'Kurinji-flower', which blossoms once in 12 years. The hill-plantain fruits and plums are known for their freshness and taste.

HISTORY

In 1845, Kodaikanal was started as hill station in the Palani hills at 7375 ft. The Palani Hills were first surveyed by British Lieutenant Ward in 1821.The first people lived in the hills were dolmen-boulders, who have left here several visible artifacts. But dolmen sites have not been carbon dated. In the Palani hills Tribes are of two kinds, the Paliyans and Pulaiyans.Kukkal Caves, which in 20 kms. away from kodaikanal, show traces of Paliyan occupation. Paliyans are tribes. Next to Paliyans, Pulaiyans were settled as agriculturists at later stage. The survey report of 1821, reveals Pulaiyans were the aborigines of the Palani Hills and followed Tamil Culture. British Lieutenant Ward had climbed up from the Kunnavan Village of Vellagavi to Kodaikanal first in 1821 to survey the area. In 1834, Madurai collector climbed up from Devadanappatti and built a small bungalow at the head of Adukkam pass near Shenbaganur Dr.Wight visited Kodaikanal in 1836 and recorded his observations which were very useful to botanists later. In 1844, Mr.Fane, an Englishmen built godowns in kodaikanal and familiarized with hill area. In 1845, the first two bungalows "Sunny-side" and "Shelton" were built by American Mission people with the help of Englishmen Mr.Fane. Then, six American families came up and stayed first at Kodaikanal. Following this, British houses also appeared. In 1864, Colonel Halmilton recorded his opinion in his report that Berijam lake area was the best site in the Palani Hills for a Military Cantonment or Sanitarium. The hill station Kodaikanal was created to serve the needs of the British and Europeans in India. In the 20th century the Indian Elite visited Kodaikanal and purchased property and utilized the facilities of British and Americans. Thus Kodaikanal has a complex and varied culture.

TOURISM

    The Places of Interest in and around Kodaikhanal

  • Most visitors go to `see’ the natural beauty of Kodai. There are organized walks through the eucalyptus and blue gum forests that are great for the heart, mind and lungs. One can go off on one’s own exploring the surrounding hills or book a trek with a travel agent. The Kodai Lake, a man-made lake has a path encircling it off which are numerous cycle hire shops. The boating club rents out pedal two seaters at nominal prices to take around this star shaped lake. Fishing is allowed but you have to get a permit. Coaker’s Walk winds around the town and has a view of some breathtaking sights of the surrounding countryside. Pillar Rocks are more than 120 mt high boulders, which can be viewed through the telescopes on Coakers Walk. On a clear day you can even see the temple town of Madurai. Within Kodai, there are botanical gardens like Bryant and Chettiar Park that are a riot when the flowers are abloom. The Kurinji plant in Chettiar Park flowers every 12 yrs and is due to bloom next in 2006. On the way to the picturesque Silver Cascade waterfalls is the Flora and Fauna Museum that houses a collection of orchids. The Astrophysical Laboratory (established in 1899) has a small museum that opens on Fridays.


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